New Zealand is being affected by climate change and impacts are set to increase in magnitude and extent over time.
Floods, storms, droughts and fires will become more frequent unless significant action is taken to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, which are changing the climate.
Even small changes in average climate conditions are likely to lead to large changes in the frequency of occurrence of extreme events. Our societies are not designed to cope with such rapid changes.
This report describes in general terms the changes in climate that are expected globally and nationally during the 21st century, before focusing on six key areas of risk for New Zealand:
- coastal margins
- flooding from rivers
- availability of and competition for freshwater
- changes to our surrounding oceans
- threats to unique ecosystems
- flow‑on effects from climate change impacts and responses overseas.
Read IAQS blog on the watery effects of climate change for New Zealand with Professor James Renwick: Floods for you; sea level rise for me
Read IAQs blog on why our ability to care for the environment depends, in part, on our ability to navigate risk with Landcare Researcher’s Dr Alison Greenaway: Climate: considering future risk.